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November 2010, Week 2

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Portside Labor <[log in to unmask]>
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Tue, 9 Nov 2010 20:23:05 -0500
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Company Accused of Firing Over Facebook Post
By STEVEN GREENHOUSE
November 8, 2010
The New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/09/business/09facebook.html

In what labor officials and lawyers view as a
ground-breaking case involving workers and social
media, the National Labor Relations Board has accused a
company of illegally firing an employee after she
criticized her supervisor on her Facebook page.

This is the first case in which the labor board has
stepped in to argue that workers' criticisms of their
bosses or companies on a social networking site are
generally a protected activity and that employers would
be violating the law by punishing workers for such
statements.

The labor relations board announced last week that it
had filed a complaint against an ambulance service,
American Medical Response of Connecticut, that fired an
emergency medical technician, accusing her, among other
things, of violating a policy that bars employees from
depicting the company "in any way" on Facebook or other
social media sites in which they post pictures of
themselves.

Lafe Solomon, the board's acting general counsel, said,
"This is a fairly straightforward case under the
National Labor Relations Act -- whether it takes place
on Facebook or at the water cooler, it was employees
talking jointly about working conditions, in this case
about their supervisor, and they have a right to do
that."

That act gives workers a federally protected right to
form unions, and it prohibits employers from punishing
workers -- whether union or nonunion -- for discussing
working conditions or unionization. The labor board
said the company's Facebook rule was "overly broad" and
improperly limited employees' rights to discuss working
conditions among themselves.

<For the full text of the article, go to
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/09/business/09facebook.html>

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